Uzbekistan was the last country my wife and I visited before moving to the States, and it provided the perfect note on which to end my time in Central Asia. Despite poor economic and political conditions, the natives are friendly, their country tidy, and the historical sites they care for truly world-class.
We began the main portion of our trip at the remote desert fortress of Khiva, flying from the capital of Tashkent after a stressful overland border crossing into the country from Kazakhstan. Our guidebook stated that Khiva can be comfortably seen in a day, but we didn’t want to rush; we spent two days and three nights there and could have stayed longer.
Next, we rode to the ancient Muslim holy city of Bukhara, our favorite due to its relaxed atmosphere and authentic, un-Russified feel. Finally, we visited Samarkand, the jewel of Tamerlane’s fourteenth-century empire. While the modern city is run-down and sprawling, the historic buildings at its heart are some of the best-preserved and stunning in the country.
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